Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Trial of the Calipers

 Per my measurements last night, I can stuff up to a .308 bullet in my converted Nagant brass for a .32-20 reload and still make spec for external neck diameter.

Which tells me .32-20 brass is probably thinner than your average brass at the neck.

Well, we'll find out, after spending an obscene amount for 200 pieces of once-fired .32-20 brass on gun broker.

Something about hand-turning necks for 50 pieces of revolver ammo seems just beyond reasonable to me.

Friday, May 20, 2022

I haven't mangled brass like this in decades...........

 Bought a S&W in .32-20. Wanted one for roughly thirty years now, but never really ran across any at the shows I frequented. Until lately. Now I have a well-used nickeled example.

I'm well aware that the days of plentiful ammo, which also equates to less common ammo at least being obtainable via the internet, are gone for the foreseeable future. But as far as I can tell, newly manufactured .32-20 doesn't exist. Although I could buy a nice vintage box for somewhere between 3 to 6 bucks a round. That's a no-go.

So, maybe I'll just convert some brass. If I can make .42 Berdan (Russian) out of .348 Winchester, how hard can it be to make .32-20? 7.62x38R Nagant brass is actually available; cutting down the case, no problem; I've got .32-20 dies from reloading for my ex's dad back in the early '90s (I throw *nothing* out). Turned out some nice little cases, slipped right in the cylinder, extracted just fine.

Until I seated a bullet. Looked like the early stages of a snake swallowing an egg. Well, maybe those old Lee dies in the green plastic case are a bit tight. Let's see what happens when loading.............and, no. Stops short. Well, that was a .314 cast and sized bullet. That's a perfect size for exiting the cylinder, but not so much for loading. How about a .311? Same problem. Ok, that should be happening.......What the hell, let's throw a .308 90 grain jacketed bullet on there, that should be fine and......*still* looks like the bullet is way oversize in the case, and still won't chamber. 

Did I buy a gun that somebody messed with a put a different cylinder in? Nope, matching serials numbers on cylinder and frame. And I'd be pretty impressed if some basement 'smith actually managed to shrink chambers. I find it pretty unlikely that S&W accidently bored out the cylinders wrong, and this gun has been fired plenty. 

At this point, I have to wonder if the PPU Nagant brass, being cut back around around a quarter inch, has enough wall thickness and the chambers are tight enough to create this problem. Now it's on to the measuring calipers and reference books to look up specs beyond just cartridge OAL. And if that doesn't do it, I guess I'll be digging out the cerrosafe from its crypt.